Thursday, November 30, 2006

assignment for friday, dec. 1:
tenacious d time!
read pp. 111 - 121 in Baraka

vocab: vapid, nadir, stifling, philanthropist, avocation, aggrandizement, gratuitously, oblivion, disparity, strata

discussion questions:
what was the role of WWI on the development of american music?
how did boogie-woogie piano fit into the larger urban black culture? (food, dance, parties, etc.)
describe the importance of WWI, the Great Depression, and WWII on african americans and their music. (p 118)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

pick up graded work in the aud.
re-type all first drafts of papers...i'm not making suggestions on them for my health....make them better the second time.

sound flies

Baraka is talking about a lot of people in the current chapter, so i'm posting some of their tunes....
Blind Lemon Jefferson, "black snake moan" ...aam7.mp3
Bessie Smith, "St. louis blues"
Mamie Smith "crazy blues"
Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons "boogie woogie dream" boogie.mp3

assignment for thursday, nov. 30:
read pp. 95 - 110

vocab: reassess, tenor, proselytize, altercation, debasing, cessation, euphemism, exploit, altruistic, crass, intent, lucrative, prognostication, aspire, paradox, acclimatization, subtle

discussion questions:
what is the importance of the two extensive quotes by James P. Johnson on p. 108 and Garvin Bushell on 109? Slang? Perspective?
How was the north a "new Jordan" or promised land? how did FOrd factor into this?
what were "race records" and how were they distributed and used?
how did southern blacks influence northern blues and jazz?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

first, my band, Mostly Other People Do the Killing, is playing friday, dec. 15 at the bowery poetry club. it's $10 at the door, and i can't make it a field trip (first, cuz it's my show, second cuz i can't ride the train with you guys) but you should come out and bring your parents for all ages!?
second, i'd like to go to a ballet and an opera this winter:
Ballet: Feb 23, 8 PM (works by stravinsky including one of the all time greats, Firebird) tickets are $35
Opera: march 23 8 PM The Egyptian Helen by R. Strauss....he's the man when it comes to dark operas. tickets are $ 40

i'm working on some jazz stuff that isnt' me, but they don't plan as long in advance as the classical stuff.
we'll hit jazz at lincoln center in april.

assignment for wednesday, nov. 29:
read pp. 86-94 in Baraka

vocab: artifact, florid, ecstatic, demeanor, bestowed, reverence, prestige, distaff

discussion questions:
what is the difference between early blues and "classic" blues?
what was the role of women in the development of "classic" blues?
how does Baraka's use of the term "authenticity" on p. 94 (line 6) differ from Cook's?
why does Baraka denounce "ragtime"? (p. 90)

Monday, November 27, 2006

assignment for tuesday, nov 28:
read pp. 80-86 in Baraka

vocab: appropriation, avocation

discussion questions:
is there a method for "learning" blues? (p. 82)
is Baraka's interpretation of minstrel shows accurate? why or why not?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


many of you are falling behind in the work for this class. your grade is based on a great deal of work, and there are consequences to not putting in 6 or more hours a week.

the library has copies of the Cook and Baraka/Jones on reserve. during your free periods, go to the library to read the book and do work for the class.

i'll be posting a bunch of old recordings of blues and such on the site later today. these may help you to write your papers in a more informed manner.

all are labeled "aam" for african american music. they are numbered 1-9 (example:
also, i put up a speech by Booker T. Washington (mentoned in chapter 3): .../music/btw.mp3

assignment for Thanksgiving break:
read pp. 60-80 in Baraka
turn in vocab (week 3), any missed vocab, and draft fo second paper on monday.

vocab: lament, arduous, ebullient, paucity, chattel, extemporized, exploits, archetype, relegate, impetus, arbitrary, patently, cacophony, preclude, veracity, concomitant, quadrille, dirge, jovial, pastiche, aegis, amalgam

discussion questions:
how does the individual nature of the country blues contrast with the ensemble tradition of europe?
how did language effect the development of the blues? (p. 63)
how did the separation of the Negro from mainstream society effect the development of blues?
how does the end of the first paragraph on p. 68 (lines 14-20) apply to current "work" in American capitalist society and Hip-Hop culture?
is the origin of jazz vague? (p. 70)
how did New Orleans Creole culture alter the development of blues?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

assignment for monday, nov. 20:

re-write first papers and hand in a typed copy.

read pp. 52-60 in Baraka

vocab: perennial, post-bellum, antebellum, per capita, subterfuge

discussion questions:
what is meant by "blues is not...a social phenomenon..."?
how did Booker T. Washington's ideas change the south? what is Baraka's opinion of him?
what does Baraka mean on p. 55 when he says, "...the Negro's "place" in American society is the fact that it was only as a slave that he really had one."?
what traditions did african americans have to re-learn? (p. 56)
what is the "slave mentality?" (p. 59)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

assignment for thursday, nov. 16:


read pp. 47-49 in Baraka

vocab: semblance, paucity

discussion questions:
what is "devil music"?
what was the hierarchy of African American Society?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

assignment for wednesday, nov. 15:
read pp. 38-47 in Baraka

vocab: dogma, palliative, anthropomorphic, dictum, conscientious, idiosyncratic

discussion questions:
what were the effects of the spread of Christianity among slaves?
what is the relationship between slaves in America and the Jews of the Bible? how did these similarities and differences appear in music?
what is the significance of the quote at the top of page 41?
what is the significance of dance?
what are the origins of Negro spirituals?

Monday, November 13, 2006

assignment for tuesday, nov. 14:


read pp. 32-38

vocab: ridicule, clandestine, aphorism, rebuff, extenuation, inimical, zealous

discussion questions:
what is the relationship between african and american religion? similarities/differences?
what role do aphorisms play in preserving culture?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

assignment for monday, nov. 13:


read pp. 25-31 in baraka

vocab: askance, vapid, facet, recrimination, schism, progeny, reconcile, circumlocution, obliquity, ellipsis

discussion questions:
how does baraka's argument on p. 25 about music theory fit in with cook's analysis of musicology? (especially the last line in paragraph 2 of p. 25)
what are the "Uncle Remus" tales? how have they been appropriated?
is baraka correct when he says on p. 29 ""Serious' western music, except for early religious music, has been strictly and "art" music."?
can a blues singer and a Wagnerian tenor be compared? (p. 30)
what does baraka mean by "refrence determines value"?
what is the significance of the quoted paragraph on p. 31 by Borneman?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

assignment for thursday, nov. 8:

read pp. 17-24 in baraka

vocab: contingent, impetus, forbearance, emphatic, litany

discussion questions:
what was the importance of language to baraka?
why did/do so many whites misinterpret africanisms in language?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

assignment for wednesday, nov. 8
read pp. 11-16 in baraka

vocab: albeit, euphemism, eradicate

discussion questions:
does baraka back up his agrument on p. 13 that more africanisms are retained in other parts of the new world? does this alter his argument? could he be correct?
(note: baraka fails to back up a lot of his arguments...keep you eyes open)
why were religion and the arts the only aspects of african culture to survive? are there others?
why was the american-born slave so valuable to both whites and african-born slaves?

Monday, November 06, 2006

assignment for tuesday, nov. 7:
read pp. 4 - 10 in baraka

vocab: antithesis, Weltanschauung, ascendancy, arable, subservience, salient, nuance, mores, deification, tepid, pertinent

discussion questions:
how does baraka compare to cook in terms of the role of language's ability to "construct" reality? (p. 4, secnond paragraph, p. 6, second paragraph, p. 9, second paragraph)
is the last sentence in the first paragraph of p. 5 accurate? what are some exceptions?
what aspects of baraka's argument can still be seen today? speech? culture? etc?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

your assignments can be picked up on monday.
some people are having diffficulty keeping up with the pace of the course. in general, i'd like to maintain the "vocab once a week" idea and continue having you turn in 2 drafts of each paper.

if you want to get a jump on the next book, feel free to start.

assignment for monday, nov. 6:
read pp. 1-4 (skip the introduction) in "Blues People" by LeRoi Jones a.k.a. Amiri Baraka
vocab: absentee, correlative, antithesis, cipher, retinue, matriculate

discussion questions:
what were the main differences between american slavery of africans and other historical instances of slavery?
what does the second paragraph on page 2 tell us about white americans' attitude toward slaves?
how does Baraka's presentation of slave life on page 3 differ from other versions?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

turn in your work by tomorrow!!!

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